Photo Credit: David Cohen / Flash 90.
Heads of religious communities in Israel get a COVID-19 vaccine at the Ziv Hospital in Tzfat, Dec. 24, 2020.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and United Nations Gilad Erdan and numerous American Jewish organizations are demanding an apology from NBC and producers of Saturday Night Live for a nasty swipe that was taken during the program this weekend in an eight-second joke delivered by comedian Michael Che:

“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population,” he said, with a slight grin, “and I’m gonna guess . . . it’s the JEWISH half!” Deadpan.

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Canned laughter. Or maybe it was real laughter from a live audience.

Ambassador Erdan was clear and to the point. “I’m a big fan of humor but perpetuating antisemitism is just not funny,” he wrote. “Your ‘joke’ is ignorant – the fact is that the success of our vaccination drive is exactly because every citizens of Israel – Jewish, Muslim, Christian – is entitled it. (sic) Apologize!”

Petition Urges NBC to Retract, Apologize
The American Jewish Committee started a petition online to urge the NBC television network studios which produce the Saturday Night Live program to “retract and apologize” for the false accusation perpetrated by Michael Che in his antisemitic “joke” this past Saturday night.

“NBC SNL’s “joke” is a modern twist on a classic antisemitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of Jews,” the AJC pointed out.

“Words have consequences, and Jews are at risk when a major American TV company joins with those who claim Israel is favoring only a portion of its citizens.”

To sign the petition, click here.

“In the Middle Ages, Jews were blamed for the Black Death in Europe and accused of protecting only themselves. Thousands were murdered by their Christian neighbors. This isn’t funny at all; it’s dangerous,” AJC global communications director Avi Mayer wrote in a separate tweet. “NBC and Michael Che should apologize at once.”

Update: Turns out, this isn’t Che’s first anti-Semitic joke:

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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